This is the city’s second heat wave this year, less than two weeks into summer—and it is breaking a more than 50-year record. Temperatures at LaGuardia Airport were at 100 degrees as of 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, surpassing a high of 97 degrees set in 1964, according to the National Weather Service. Central Park reached 98 degrees, the highest since 2013.

Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Bushwick Pool in Brooklyn, June 2021.

On the fourth day of a continuous heatwave, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New York City residents Wednesday to immediately reduce their electricity usage in response to  a strain on the city’s electrical system that was causing outages. 

About 2,850 Con Edison customers were without power Wednesday afternoon, down from more than 3,700 earlier in the day. This includes almost 1,700 households in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dry ice was being distributed at Nassau and Morgan avenues, and an MTA bus is serving as a cooling center at that corner, the mayor said.

According to de Blasio, who spoke with the president of Con Edison New York earlier in the day, the company originally thought that the outages were localized, but it was later determined that the entire system was at risk of an outage.

“This is very serious stuff,” said De Blasio.

The mayor said that New Yorkers should put off usage of unnecessary appliances until Thursday and to turn air conditioning temperatures up as a way to reduce energy usage across the city.

“We do not want to see things go from bad to worse,” de Blasio said. “This is a really big strain that’s being put on our electrical system by this level of heat for these many days.”

This is the city’s second heat wave this year, less than two weeks into summer—and it is breaking a more than 50-year record. Temperatures at LaGuardia Airport were at 100 degrees as of 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, surpassing a high of 97 degrees set in 1964, according to the National Weather Service. Central Park reached 98 degrees, the highest since 2013.

The city has cooling centers in place at libraries, community and senior centers, and in NYCHA facilities, but some do not open until next week, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to de Blasio. “We are adding centers, literally day by day,” he said.

Emergency Management Department Commissioner John Scrivani added that the city distributed 74,000 air conditioners last year as part of de Blasio’s $55 million initiative to protect low-income, elderly New Yorkers during the pandemic.

“We feel at this time we have sufficient capacity if anybody needs to get into a cooling center,” he said.

You can find a map of the city’s cooling centers here. The city’s Health Department has tips for staying cool and risks to watch out for here.

Tell us in a comment below: Are you having trouble finding a cooling center or access to air conditioning? How are you handling the heat wave, and what could city leaders do to make it more bearable? You can also send comments to editor@citylimits.org.

Liz Donovan is a Report for America corps member.

One thought on “Mayor Urges New Yorkers to Turn Appliances Off As City Endures Record-Breaking Heat Wave

  1. Our politicians are brain dead, they closed Indian Point which supplied 25% of NYC’s electricity, without finding a replacement and now that its hot out they want us to cut back on our air conditioner usage. Maybe they should have found something to replace Indian Point before they shut it down. And maybe they should do something about our over loaded and antiquated electrical system. Especially with global warming, more hot days equal more New Yorker’s using theirs air conditioners……… Which will put a bigger strain on our already overloaded electrical grid. A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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